28 Aug 2019

Dr Pannie Engelbrecht: * 23 July 1949; + 5 July 2019

Pannie hailed from Namaqualand and initially joined the police force before switching to medical technology. He joined the CSIR some 40 years ago and started research on the application of sewage sludge to land and quantified the risks of bacterial and heavy metal contamination of vegetables. His research greatly assisted the Department of Health to draw up guidelines for the safe use of sewage sludge as a fertilizer on edible crops. It extended to the wider use of sludge for example on sports fields. In those early days he was also involved in desalination of brackish water and was stationed in Henties Bay Namibia for nine months to monitor the desalination experiments with the EDR technique on behalf of the CSIR.

Since the 1970s the CSIR was monitoring the seawater quality and the marine group was involved in dilution studies at sewage outfalls in the marine environment. Pannie carried out the monitoring of the bacterial quality of the water both at Green Point and at Hout Bay. The Hout Bay study extended over two decades before and after construction of the marine outfall and this served as excellent material for a D Tech study, a token of his perseverance.

As part of the groundwater group he carried out research on the impact of cemeteries on groundwater quality and provided guidance to many consultants on the placement of such facilities. Pannie also contributed significantly to a wide variety of groundwater projects, notably the study of the occurrence of nitrate in groundwater in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. He also played a key role in the investigation of groundwater pollution at the massive cattle graves in Ngamiland, Botswana. His resourcefulness made him an ideal team member for carrying out any task.

Pannie also was a talented graphic artist and had the knack to do graphs and presentations in an innovative way. He assisted many colleagues with this task and with designing report covers. He will also be remembered for the finesse to prepare the meat expertly when he organized a braai.

We honour a special colleague and friend and are grateful that we had the opportunity to work together. His presence and especially his Namaqualand humour will be sorely missed.

Our condolences to his wife Drieka, his children and grandchildren.

Gideon Tredoux

23 July 2019